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Internet Retailing 2012

Internet Retailing’s annual conference took place in London on 9 October. Emma Herrod reflects on some of the highlights

The annual Internet Retailing conference always initiates interesting discussions amongst speakers and delegates as they debate the leading issues in the online and cross-channel areas of retailing. This year’s event was no exception.

Simpler, faster and cheaper: that’s the key to multichannel retail, Andrew Harrison of Carphone Warehouse Europe told the packed conference hall. His “Great example of time / cost savings of retail versus mobile payment – 13 mins against 27 secs,” was tweeted by many delegates including fellow keynote presenter Jonathan Wall , E-Commerce Director, Shop Direct Group , who quipped, “nice use of tennis balls as a prop too”.

Harrison and Wall were joined in the keynote panel by Alison Lancaster , CMO of Kiddicare and Marketing Director of Morrison’s non-food .com business, with all three addressing the theme of ‘Mantle of Leadership’. Lancaster said that leadership in the new world of data-driven multichannel retail would require “strong and collegiate leadership” for a big and agile change management programme. She said the Kiddicare team had recently tackled the challenge of becoming a true multichannel retailer, with the addition of new stores to what had previously been an 85% online business. “Only by being one team and working together with a remarkable vision have we been able to deliver Kiddicare stores within six months.”

Earlier Wall had told the audience that belief was a key attribute of successful ecommerce and multichannel leaders. But also keenly important was understanding of statistics and data. “We have to show as a leader that we understand data from the bottom up,” he said.

He said that Shop Direct Group had set a mantra to motivate itself in taking its previously catalogue-based business online. 70 20 10 illustrated the fact that the business had aimed to take 70% of its business online by 2010. But now, he said, the business needed a new mantra. That, he said, had been done. 50 20 15 illustrates the fact that it expects to do half its business over mobile by 2015.

The conference then split into three streams to focus on The Customer, Connection, Commercial. Speakers ranged from Lovehoney , Argos and M&S to Tesco , House of Fraser , Domino’s Pizza and Jessops.

Readers can revisit speaker presentations online at and if you’re interested in speaking at next year’s conference – 16 October 2013 – contact

I’ll leave you with the thought that however and wherever retailers are leading the way in the evolution of retail so system developers, suppliers and integrators are pushing boundaries, innovating and helping those retailers to stay ahead. Some of the innovators on the supplier side that were exhibiting at Internet Retailing 2012 share their views in the following pages…

Some of the tweets included:

Since we launched the official Fifty Shades of Grey collection page on Lovehoney last week, it’s had 4.4k Facebook Likes……and 17 Google +1s.

Tesco WiFi used as a way to help customers be online better, to serve them better + to drive adoption of loyalty scheme.

The Argos presentation – at which there was standing room only – and for good reason brought tweets of “very impressive” and “96% of the UK population live within ten miles of an Argos store – perfect scenario for click-and-collect services”.

Priya Prakash’s comments on “the interface is the brand” and how the user interface trumps loyalty brought agreement and comments of “strong words!”

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